AFP fact-checks on India's mammoth election

As India holds the world's biggest election, social media is awash with disinformation and fake news (AFP Photo/SANJAY KANOJIA)

AFP's fact-check service debunks misinformation spread online. As India holds the world's biggest election, social media is awash with disinformation and fake news. Here are some of our recent fact-checks:

1.Home truth?

After India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi returned to his home state to cast his vote, a widely-shared photograph purported to show a portrait of one of his political rivals hanging on the wall in his mother's living room. The claim was false: the image had been doctored from an original with the rival's portrait superimposed over a religious Hindu picture.

2.Double date

An image appeared online which appeared to show opposition leader Rahul Gandhi eating biryani with Imran Khan, the Prime Minister of arch-rival Pakistan. A very similar image purportedly showed Prime Minister Modi eating with Khan. Both the misleading images were actually doctored from an original 2015 photograph which showed the Pakistani leader and his then-wife Reham Khan eating at a function.

3. Made-up Modi

Multiple Facebook posts shared footage they claimed showed Modi having his makeup done by his personal makeup artist -- who earned $114,000 per month. The footage was actually taken from a 2016 promotional video by waxworks museum Madame Tussauds showing Modi being measured by a team for his wax replica statue.

4. Rohingya violence?

One video shared thousands of times claimed to show Rohingya refugees harassing workers from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) during a rally in the state of West Bengal. But the footage was actually from the state of Gujarat, at the other end of the country, and showed locals protesting a BJP motorbike rally ahead of state elections in 2017.

5. Drunk and disorderly

Footage of opposition politician Priyanka Gandhi in the middle of a crowd has been used repeatedly in posts which make different misleading claims about what it shows. Some posts claim the footage showed Gandhi drunk and disorderly, other posts said it showed her being attacked for insulting the Prime Minister, still more posts suggested it showed her elbowing "poor" people when she thought she was unobserved. All of the claims are false: the footage actually shows Gandhi reacting to being jostled during a anti-sexual assault rally in Delhi in 2018.

6. Pakistan flag myths

A video of a rally for India's main opposition party, the Indian National Congress, was shared on Facebook and YouTube alongside claims it showed someone waving the national flag of arch-rival Pakistan. But the flag in fact is that of an Indian political party, the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), which shares the same green and white colours.


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